Front row left, to right: Enis Huskic, Jodie Adams, Charles Espinal, Aramis Maldonado, Adalberto Zorrilla. Blue shirt, Alex Sepulveda, owner and trainer at Private Jewels. Back row: Carolina Trujillo. Antonio Gutierrez, Ruben Holguin, John Ford, Pete Capano, Valerie Deland, Rob Smith and Fred Hogan.
By HAROLD RIVERA
Lynn native Alex Sepulveda has made it clear that he believes his hometown is a boxing city. Sepulveda, a Tech grad who trains young boxers with a similar belief, will have a chance to showcase Lynn’s boxing talents next weekend at the first annual “Boxing For Hope” fundraiser.
The event, which will be held in conjunction with Lynn’s “Stop the Violence” organization, will take place next Saturday afternoon, June 24, at the Lynn Tech field house. It’ll include a dozen bouts, 11 of which involve Lynn boxers. The other bouters hail from areas from all over New England and range in ages from 10-33.
Sepulveda, who trains the 11 Lynn fighters at his gym, Private Jewels Fitness, is a former boxer himself. He said that although the showcase gives his fighters a chance to perform in their hometown, there’s a positive message attached to the event as well.
“This is going to be a fundraiser that helps kids stay off the streets,” Sepulveda said. “It’s about helping kids stay focused on academics. We’re looking to raise money to keep this program alive. This going to be a day when the city of Lynn is coming together to focus on this cause.”
“This event is about progressing for a better future,” Sepulveda added.
The opportunity to perform in front of their friends and families in an Olympic-style boxing setting, however, has given Sepulveda’s boxers an added incentive as they prepare for next Saturday’s event.
“They’re all excited,” Sepulveda said. “Their friends and families are all excited. They have so much pride for themselves and the city, so they’re overly excited. I have to thank the city for helping us make this event.”
One of the event’s major goals, besides coming together to raise money for a positive cause, is to prove that Lynn has a bright future in the sport of boxing. Sepulveda noted that Lynn hasn’t hosted a boxing event in a while and “Boxing For Hope” is seeking to change that.
“We have 11 kids that have a lot of talent,” Sepulveda said. “Nine of these 11 kids have already been Golden Gloves champions. This is why we’re doing this, because Lynn is a boxing city. We haven’t had fights in a while so we’re looking to bring them back. We want people to see the talent that we have in this beautiful city.”
The boxers representing Lynn throughout the showcase, Sepulveda said, have all bought in on setting their sights towards a positive future. Sepulveda’s boxing program at Private Jewels opens its doors to high-risk youth and preaches positive values, such as the importance of academics, to those who participate.
“A lot of my kids are high-risk kids in high-risk programs,” Sepulveda said. “A lot of cities don’t like to work with kids that are high-risk. A lot of my kids are showing results and changes not just in boxing but academically. In doing so, they’re representing Massachusetts and New England at national levels. Our program is working for these kids and that’s what we’re here for, to create a better generation for the kids in our future.”
Tickets for “Boxing For Hope” cost $10 and can be purchased in person at Private Jewels, over the internet at the gymnasium’s website (www.privatejewelsfitness.com) or at the door on the day of the event. All proceeds go towards Private Jewels and “Stop the Violence.”
The first of the 12 bouts is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
“This is all about seeing growth in these kids,” Sepulveda said. “I have kids here that earned scholarships for USA boxing. They’re learning how to be men and great citizens for the Lynn community.
“The name says it all, ‘Boxing for Hope.’ This is the hope for our kids and for the new generation.”